5 things about bicycles that every beginner must know
If you’re one of the kind who loved adventures and thrills since childhood, then the idea of cycling must still excite you. However, if you’re new to cycling then brace yourself for a bunch of amazing experiences in store for you. Even though cycling tends to drain out a lot of energy and might seem a little overwhelming in the beginning, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll realize that no other two-wheeler gives a sense of accomplishment similar to that of a bicycle.
But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You might think that only Mountain bikers need special cycling training and skills to set off on the road, but that is a big mistake in understanding. There are a lot of things every beginner must know, other than the basic traffic rules. Riding your bicycle will seem all the more fun once you know the key facts about it.
For example, it’s a known fact that every new owner should get their bicycles insured—as you know what they say, prevention is better than cure. And in the case of bicycles, you need to have some cushion of security to ride without any worry making a home in your head. Just like this, there is are a lot of things every beginner must know to get the best experience out of cycling, here are five important ones from the list:
- Brakes – Before setting out in the wild with your bicycles, you need to know everything brakes. The adrenaline rush in your veins accelerated with the wind in your hair might aid in losing control of the acceleration in your wheels. In order to avoid such situations, you need to know the mechanism of brakes. Always remember, the front brake has more control than the rear.
Working – Pulling the brake lever of your choice might also cause you to trip over because both the brakes have different controls. The brakes on the left handlebars control the front wheel and the one on your right controls the rear wheel. However, if you’re living in the United Kingdom, the mechanism is the opposite. You cannot pull a single brake and wish to have smooth control over your vehicle. It is always best to slowly use both the brakes at a time.
2. Balance – Even though it isn’t a “part” of your bicycle, it is the most important part of learning how to ride one. Developing the skill of balancing on a bicycle isn’t enough for riding it safely on the road. You need to learn how to balance your cycle while increasing the paddling speed, or while changing gear, and even while riding in small spaces, such as tight traffic or a narrow alley.
Working – In order to improve your balancing skills, avoid looking at the immediate ground for obstacles and keep an eye on the road ahead of you. Always look straight and avoid wearing earphones with high volume because it can make you wobbly. In order to keep your balance while turning around, let your body flow with the bicycle instead of turning your head around.
3. Gear – You might have come across a lot of stories about how upgraded gear made the riding experience more fun. But for a beginner, upgraded gears aren’t the biggest concern. What you need the most is the zeal to get out there and start riding with whatever basic model of bicycle you have. Gears are very important while climbing uphill or while riding for long stretches, but you don’t need to overdo it by getting fancy gears.
Working – To be very honest, it will need quite an amount of practice to understand how gears work and when should you shift from one gear to another in order to increase efficiency. Then again, for a beginner, it is nothing to take stress about.
4. Seat height – Setting the perfect seat height is a common mistake every beginner cyclist makes. Most people set the seat height low; in order to reach the ground easily but you can end up with a pain in your knees if your seat height is too low. Wrong saddle height can result in wrong pedal strokes.
Working – In order to know if your saddle height is correct, look out for a slight bending in your knees at the bottom of the pedal stroke without shaking the pelvis area. In case you can’t figure out the perfect seat height, the nearest bike shop is always there to fix it for you.
5. Accessories – An accessory you need for sure is a helmet to protect your head. Given the fact that your brand-new bicycle stands a chance to invoke the daredevil inside you, calmly waiting all these years to show its true colors, wearing the helmet is a must. With no intentions of demoralizing, you should know that on average, head injuries take up 60 percent of accidents related to bicycles in the United States every year.
Working – Is there any? All you need to do is put it on and remember to clip it up before riding your bicycle. Always remember, most of the fatal injuries could’ve been avoided if the rider had a helmet on. Also, go through your state’s laws on wearing helmets to understand its importance better.
These simple suggestions and fixes will get you rolling on the trails and make your riding experience safe as well as thrilling.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.